The Four Horseman of the Carb-pocolypse! The second in the series, this is a long one but an important one!
“All diseases begin in the gut”- Hippocrates.
Hippocrates may not have been entirely right, but current medical thinking is increasingly emphasising the importance of the gut (intestines) and the links between digestion, mood, and health.
RMR can verify that many, if not most, of their Banters who are overweight and insulin resistant, appear to have poor gut health.
An enormous organ, the gut, often considered “the second brain”, is a place of complex interaction between nerve signals, hormones, and the microbiota. Upset it and the consequences can be numerous and nasty.
The small intestine is responsible for around 95 percent of the digestion and absorption of the food we eat. Nearly seven metres in length, it consists of internal folds that are in turn layered with miniscule protrusions designed to maximise the surface area available for absorption and digestion.
The total surface area exposed to both the nutritious and harmful things we consume has been calculated to be anywhere from the size of a badminton court to the size of a tennis court! So consider when ‘fertilizing’ it that you are on Wimbledon centre court playing the game of your life, so best to prepare (repair) it well. Water it, fertilize it, look after it.
Two types of fertilizer to help regenerate your gut health are:
Bone broth-rich with all the nutrients and minerals your body needs to rebuild the intestinal linings (and any other tissue)
Fermented food and drinks-rich with nutrients as a result from the fermentation process; foods like natural yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and drinks like kefir and kombucha help repopulate the gut biome with healthy bacteria or feed the bacteria that are already there.
Key to the effective and healthy functioning of the small intestine is the symbiotic relationship it enjoys with our gut flora. These microorganisms line the intestinal wall by the trillions, forming a vital living interface between the partially digested food on the inside and the intestinal wall on the outside.
Among other things, gut flora manufacture vitamins B and K, and act as an organ of the body by releasing hormones into the bloodstream.
As we have discussed, hormones interact with the brain and signal the body to change its behaviour in response to a change in its environment. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other bowel complaints such as constipation and bloating are now thought to directly affect our mood, contributing to major emotional shifts and even anxiety and depression (which in turn affect the gut).
Check out Dr Georgia Eade for more information https://youtu.be/5As0nmba4r8
Our gut flora also plays an important hand in managing the body’s metabolism, and it forms part of the body’s immune system by making antigens from potentially harmful bacteria that the immune system can use to ward off disease.
Regardless of what diet you may sign up for, it is critical that it should take into account the healthy development and maintenance of your gut flora. Abrupt changes, such as a wildly fluctuating diet, the excessive use of antibiotics or the infestation of harmful bacteria, can seriously compromise this vital organ. Rebuilding and supporting the gut flora should be regarded as a foundational step to metabolic health and is therefore a vital part of the RMR programme.
Dr Chatterjee is star of the BBC one show, Doctor in the House. In this 30-minute presentation, Dr Chatterjee explains the low carb, slow carb and the microbiome (5th minute), the loss of diversity of the microbiome amongst urbanised populations (8th minute), diet, microbiota and immune function (10th minute) and what happens when the immune system is compromised (11th minute), the importance of diet on the gut flora (13th minute) and how a poor diet can also lead to obesity (19th minute), ending with guidance for how to improve gut flora and feed your microbiome (23rd minute).
In the next post we will be learning about the problems with gluten! Until then have a great day and I hope you have found this of interest.